UPDATED JAN 2023
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
IRS Transcripts can help you get information about your tax refund. The IRS says they won’t, but we don’t agree. It’s not opinion. It’s facts. We see it year after year and tell you more below. Keep reading to find all the answers to questions about transcripts.
What the IRS Says
Hi, XXXXXX. I wanted to pass on some language that was added to our filing season page it addresses transcripts and how they really aren’t a good indicator of when a refund is coming.Will ordering a transcript help you determine when you’ll get your refund?
No, a tax transcript will not help you determine when you will get your refund. This is among the common myths and misconceptions that are often repeated in social media. The codes listed on tax transcripts do not provide any early insight into when a refund will be issued. The best way to check on your refund is by visiting “Where’s My Refund?” While transcripts include a lot of detailed information regarding actions taken on your account, the codes do not mean the same thing for everyone and they do not necessarily reflect how any of these actions do or do not impact the amount or timing of your refund. IRS transcripts are best and most often used to validate past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications and to help with tax preparation.Excerpt from email sent to IGMR from the IRS Social Media Director
As you see from the statement above, the IRS didn’t and doesn’t acknowledge any of our theories on transcripts even to this day many years later. They have made tremendous strides with the implementation of the online viewing of transcripts and with this option people can see almost daily changes on their return. This has made this time of year less “taxing” for many.
How to get transcripts either to view online or mailed:
Types of Transcripts
The IRS offers the following transcript types at no charge to you:
- Tax Return Transcript – shows most line items including your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your original tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as filed, along with any forms and schedules. It doesn’t show changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript is only available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. A tax return transcript usually meets the needs of lending institutions offering mortgages and student loans. Note: the secondary spouse on a joint return must use Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T to request this transcript type. When using Get Transcript by Mail or phone, the primary taxpayer on the return must make the request.
- Tax Account Transcript – shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after you filed your original return. This transcript is available for the current tax year and up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T. When using Get Transcript by Mail or phone, you’re limited to the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. Note: If you made estimated tax payments and/or applied an overpayment from a prior year return, you can request this transcript type a few weeks after the beginning of the calendar year to confirm your payments prior to filing your tax return.
- Record of Account Transcript – combines the tax return and tax account transcripts above into one complete transcript. This transcript is available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T.
- Wage and Income Transcript – shows data from information returns we receive such as Forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information. Current tax year information may not be complete until July. This transcript is available for up to 10 prior years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T.
- Verification of Non-filing Letter – provides proof that the IRS has no record of a filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ for the year you requested. It doesn’t indicate whether you were required to file a return for that year. This letter is available after June 15 for the current tax year or anytime for the prior three tax years using Get Transcript Online or Form 4506-T. You must use Form 4506-T if you need a letter for tax years older than the prior three years.
Note: A transcript isn’t a photocopy of your return. If you need a copy of your original return, complete and mail Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, along with the applicable fee.
The IGMR theories on transcripts have changed over the years. Since the IRS has allowed online viewing many of our previous theories have been proven and some debunked. Not all individuals are able to view their transcripts online. We have come up with new theories to assist these individuals.
Here are some things we believe about transcripts:
They can update daily. Larger updates occurring twice weekly. Check the Calendar or the Update Cycle below.
- If you can order both transcripts, the account and the return transcript, it can signal that your tax return is processing.
- In some cases people receive blank pages which likely means a tax return is still processing.
- A good indicator that your current year return is processing is if you had a change of address. If the system accepts your new address then it can be an indicator that your return is being processed. This doesn’t mean your return doesn’t have issues.
- When a transaction posts to your account, the WMR will update on the following day.
- Account transcripts have various processing and freeze codes here.
What to look for?
Ask others what they are looking at on their transcripts in our discussions below.